n Acta Criminologica : African Journal of Criminology & Victimology - South African correctional staff perceptions of and insights into ethical conduct

Volume 32 Number 2
  • ISSN : 1012-8093


From the literature there are strong indications of prolonged unethical conduct in the South African correctional system. A decision was thus taken to investigate this phenomenon by means of an ethics survey instrument to assess workplace perceptions and attitudes of South African correctional staff. Although the system is enormous, some homogeneity does occur. Nonetheless, the researchers could not include enough correctional centres to generalise the findings in this study to the whole system and understand the difficulty in devising a survey instrument that simultaneously and accurately reflects the knowledge/attitudes and the subsequent behaviour of correctional officials. For this research a Likert type questionnaire was used. Data was captured on Epi-info version 7 and exported to SPSS. Patterns and trends were established to compose four areas of perception, namely regulation, interaction, behaviour, and attitude. Hypothesis level was done at five percent level of significance. From the study it is evident that correctional officials’ perceptions of and insights into ethical conduct is strong, even though certain areas of perception show that staff may act differently to what their perceptions are. The article concludes that more research needs to be done to determine the causality between perceptions, attitudes, (two of the four areas of perception that have emanated from the questionnaire) and eventual conduct.

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